Written by Christian Reimers
Ever went to the beach but couldn’t enjoy it because of all the debris and trash? That is exactly what happened to me. My name is Christian and I am currently volunteering in Cape Town at the national office. I am a fervent swimmer and love the beach. You can imagine my disappointment when I saw the state of the beaches. So, as a Scout, I decided to do something about it.
I started a go-fund me page and with the support of my friends and family in Germany, I was able to raise the money needed to clean up part of Milnerton beach. I put out a call for help and 36 Cubs, Scouts and Adult leaders from 1st Table view, 1st Belvedere, 1st Claremont, 1st Paarl and my fellow volunteer Jana Lorenz, came to help.
We met at the Milnerton beach lighthouse and started to free the beach and part of the dunes from trash. While cleaning the beach we collected rubbish of all kind, from little bottle caps and straws to car seats and tyres! With the support of the City of Cape Town, who sent a truck to collect the trash, we were able to remove all of it from the beach. It was so rewarding to see that we were able to clear 600 meters of beach!
Pollution is almost everywhere in our society and everybody is affected by it. But to handle that big problem we all need to start changing the way we think. As a Scout I learnt from a young age to respect and love the world I live in. I was so proud to see how hard the kids were working to clean up the environment and I felt inspired when a Cub saw the state of the beach before and after our intervention and asked “Why do people do that?” He was so right to ask the question. It does not take a big effort to throw your rubbish in the bin. There are also multiple ways to reduce or recycle your trash. One very good example is the EcoBrick project where bricks are made from rejected plastic and are used to build houses.
By seeing the difference they had made, I hope this initiative taught the participating children that we should all “Try and leave this world a little better than you found it…”, which is what Scouting founder Lord Baden-Powell asked us to do. I hope that they in turn can become role models to their peers and that we all, as Scouts, can be part of the change!